Classroom assessment of reading comprehension: How are preservice Foundation Phase teachers being prepared?

  • Carisma Nel


A number of assessment studies in recent years have shown that the educational achievement of learners in South African schools is unacceptably poor. The Department of Education’s systemic evaluations, conducted in Grade 3 (first cycle in 2001, second cycle in 2007) show very low levels of literacy among learners. Reading comprehension and writing scores averaged 39% for the first and 36% for the second cycle. Research indicates that less attention has been given to children’s reading comprehension skills compared to decoding skills. Teacher preparation programmes should provide candidates with a rigorous, research-based curriculum and opportunities to practise a range of predefined skills and knowledge. The demands of competent literacy instruction and assessment, and the training experiences necessary to learn it, have been seriously underestimated by universities. Teacher education programmes should ensure that teachers, amongst other crucial aspects, know how to assess the progress of every student and change instruction when it is not working and also know how to communicate results of assessments to various stakeholders, especially parents. The purpose of this article is to report on the training that pre-service teachers receive, related to reading comprehension assessment practices, within a BEd foundation phase teacher preparation programme.


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Author Biography

Carisma Nel
Carisma Nel is a Professor in the School for Curriculum-based Studies at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). She in an Applied Linguist specialising in literacies, specifically reading literacy from the foundation phase through to the higher education sector. She is currently the project leader for two major international projects: Quality language and reading literacy teaching and learning within diverse education environments and Developing scientific evidence-based knowledge and practice standards for teacher preparation programmes: A focus on literacy and numeracy in English, Setswana and Afrikaans.E-mail address: